To the Editor:
Breeder and dog show judge Lisa Peterson [Lisa Unleashed columnist, The Newtown Bee] has a vested interest in keeping the dog-breeding industry alive, but anyone who’s shared their life with a beloved canine companion knows that each dog is a unique individual, and there is simply no replacing or recreating the personality, spirit, quirks, and experiences that make our dogs who they are.
Certain breeds may share some common traits, such as a tendency to herd or retrieve. But the one-of-a-kind characteristics that are exclusive to each dog — such as how she places her well-chewed toy at your feet when you’re feeling sad, or the way she jumps in the air three times and barks whenever you visit her favorite park — simply can’t be recreated. [Lisa Unleashed, March 9, “When Celebrities And Canines Collide: Send In The Clones”]
What’s more, every dog who is bred or cloned means one fewer home for a loving, friendly pup waiting in a shelter who desperately needs to be adopted. There is no shortage of dogs in need of someone to love them: Every year, more than six million animals enter shelters, and about half must be euthanized, many simply because there are no suitable homes for them. About a quarter of dogs in shelters are purebreds. Who created them? Breeders, of course.
Countless other homeless dogs are turned away from shelters for lack of space or are abandoned on the streets by people who can’t or won’t care for them any longer. Their difficult lives come to a painful and terrifying end via speeding cars, cruel people, untreated injuries and diseases, starvation, freezing to death, and other cruel fates.
The grief we feel over losing a dear companion is intense and very real, but we can begin to heal our hearts — and help other dogs who aren’t as fortunate as our departed companions were — by volunteering at our local shelter, and, when the time is right, opening our hearts by visiting a shelter to adopt a new family member. He or she probably won’t look or act exactly like our old companion did, but showing compassion and love to a dog who really needs it can be one of the most meaningful and healing things we do after a loss. After all, dogs love and accept us just as we are — shouldn’t we do the same for them?
The PETA Foundation
501 Front Street, Norfolk, Va. March 14, 2018